RED TRINITY

A Play
 
By Mark Dickman

Scene One.
December, 1922. Lenin’s quarters late at night. He sits in a wheelchair at his desk writing furiously away. The sound of a clock can be heard ticking. Krupskaya, his wife and lifelong comrade, enters in her nightdress from the adjoining bedroom. She stands behind him, massaging his back and shoulders.


KRUPSKAYA: Come to bed, Volodya, it’s nearly
                        Three a.m. Ah, you feel so tense,
                        Like a bunched up fist. Yet again
                        Ignore your doctor’s orders.
                        They’ve warned you time after
                        Time against overwork: you’re th
                        Worst patient they’ve ever treated,
                        They tell me. You must heed their
                        Advice, my dear, especially now,
                        When you’re well nigh irreplaceable,
                        And our country stands like a fortress
                        Besieged by hostile imperialist powers.


LENIN:           (He lays his pen down, closes his notebook and turns to her.)
                       Lately I’ve had the uncanny sensation
                      Of a driver when he feels his vehicle’s
                      Not moving in the direction in which
                      He steers it. I’ve gripped the wheel
                      With all my might but forces beyond
                      My control have taken over…
                      (He lifts his notebook from the desk and places it in her hands.)
                      Between bouts of insomnia I’ve
                      Been writing my will: my warning to
                      The party in case I’m stricken down
                      Once again-


KRUPSKAYA: Perhaps a little warm milk would
                      Help you sleep-


LENIN:          No – let me finish – while my mind
                      Is still intact!...Above all there’s the
                      Abuse of power and the danger of
                      A split in the party. I stand guilty
                     Before the workers for not having
                     Intervened sooner in this matter. As
                     The two most eminent members of
                     The Central Committee, Trotsky and
                    Stalin would be the chief antagonists.
                    Lev Davidovich is surely the most
                    Able of the party leaders, but I fear
                    His excessive self-confidence.
                    And despite all his gifts, he lacks
                    Political acumen. As for Stalin,
                    He possesses that quality in
                    Abundance; but his bullying of our
                    Georgian comrades requires his
                    Instant removal from office. As
                    General secretary, he has
                    Enormous power: and he’s shown
                    That he’ll us it like a czarist thug.
                    He must be replaced immediately,
                    Otherwise the conflict between he
                    And Trotsky could have dangerous
                    Consequences for our party…


KEUPSKAYA: I hesitated to mention it to you –
                    Given your doctor’s warnings,  
                    Fearing it might alarm you – but 
                    He was quite rude to me last week
                    When I was collecting  facts for you
                    Concerning the Georgian affair –


LENIN:        That brutal son of a bitch!


KRUPSKAYA: In the last thirty years I’ve never
                    Heard a single coarse word from
                    A comrade. Why, he even
                    Threatened to have me prosecuted
                    Before the party commission for
                    Having violated your physician’s
                    Orders! Certainly, the interestsof
                    The party and my own husband’s
                    Health are no less dear to me than
                    To him!


LENIN:        That he dare to question your
                     Devotion to me and the party!


KRUPSKAYA: I tell you, Volodya, my nerves are
               At the breaking point. I need all
              The self-control that I can muster…


LENIN:  I’ve written to him, Nadyezhda;
              Broken off all personal relations.
             What he’s done to you has been
             Aimed at me as well. I never will
             Forget this. He’s creating his own
             Machine – the same old czarist
             Apparatus – that Great Russian
             Chavinist, that bureaucratic
             Scoundrel. And I’ve concluded
             A bloc with Lev Davidovich
             Against him, urged him to show
             No weakness nor vacillation. I’ll
             Have no “rotten compromises” in
             This matter. What you now hold
               In your hands is the bombshell I’ll
               Explode before the congress. I’ll
              Crush him if it’s the last thing I do!

Scene Two.


Stalin’s office. Seated before him are Zinoviev and Kamenev.

 

STALIN:       As long as Trotsky has Lenin’s
                    Confidence, we must handle
                    Him with a pair of kid gloves.


ZINIVIEV:   Yes, we don’t want our dirty
                   Laundry exposed before
                   The party congress. Let’s
                   Propose he address it as
                   Rapporteur: flatter him by
                   Offering him the honor of
                   Speaking in Lenin’s place.


KAMENEV: And let him give the major
                   Address on the economy-


ZINOVIEV: Let the “super-planner” spout
                  Off on his favorite obsession.
                  No one will comprehend it
                  And he’ll scare the younger
                  Delegates to death.


STALIN:  If he speaks in Vladimir Ilyich’s
               Place, it’ll appear he hungers
              For power. If not, he’ll lose his
              Best chance to defeat us.


ZINOVIEV: Heads, he wins; tails, he loses.


                 (A knock is heard at the door. Trotsky enters and is seated before them.)


KAMENEV: Welcome, Lev Davidovitch. We
                  Trust that Natalya and the boys
                  Are in the best of health?


ZINOVIEV: We have been speaking of the 
                 Coming party congress and the
                 Unfortunate fact that Vladimir
                 Ilyich will be indisposed.


KAMENEV: We believe that no one but
                 You could speak in his place,
                 Address the party congress
                 As rapporteur-


TROTSKY: At such a time as this, when Ilyich
                 Lies gravely ill, it would hardly be
                 Seemly for me to speak in his place.


STALIN:   But surely someone must give the
                 Address, and there’s none more
                 Qualified.


TROTSKY: No, it might be seen as a bid for
                  Power while Vladimir Ilyich is
                  Still alive. I refuse to engage in
                   A game of succession over his
                  Still empty coffin. It would bring
                 Demoralization to the ranks: the
                Very thought makes me shudder…


KAMENEV: Then we can return to this matter
                     Later. But we can count on you
                      Addressing the congress on
                     The question of the economy?


TROTSKY: Of course. I consider it of the
                   Direst necessity that we begin
                  The transition from NEP to a
                      Planned economy.


KAMENEV: And as for Lenin’s recent
                  Writings on the nationalities-


TROTSKY: In substance I agree with
                   Him entirely…
                    (Addressing Stalin.)
                   Your bullying of our Georgian
                   Comrades is inexcusable. Not
                    To speak of your rudeness to
                     Comrade Krupskaya.


ZINIVIEV: Comrade Stalin has already
               Made amends, written to her
               In apology. And he will, in his
                Address on the nationalities,
               Place due emphasis on their
              Right to self-determination.


TROTSKY: In that case, I will not insist on
                  Reprisals: your expulsion from
                   The party. As for continuing
                     In the office of the general
                    Secretary, we can leave that
                      To the Politbureau to decide…


KAMENEV: We appreciate your magnanimity,
       Lev Davidovich. This is hardly the
      Time – with Valadimir Ilyich so 
      Gravely ill – to bring needless
      Controversy before the party.


ZINOVIEV: We can go into further details
       At the central committee meeting.


      (Trotsky rises, nods to them and exits.)


ZINOVIEV: He simply takes it for granted
        that Lenin will always be there
        Beside him. Sees himself above
        The fray, beyond mere “politics”.


KAMENEV: Nevertheless, if Vladimir Ilyich
        Had been here –


ZINOVIEV: Then it would’ve been another
        Story entirely!…


STALIN: While he’s in such a forgiving
        Mood, we must prepare for the
        Party congress: act behind
        The scenes; place our people
        In all the right places and
        Positions.


ZINOVIEV: And warn the delegates
         Against him. After all, hadn’t
      Bonaparte, the “gravedigger”
      Of the French Revolution,
      Also rose to power as the
     Triumphant leader of an army?

 

Scene Three.


 The Twelfth Party Congress. Platform on the stage of a great Hall. Kamenev chairs the meeting. Zinoviev addresses the assembly in debate. Stalin is present. Trotsky, ill, is represented by Yoffe and Krupskaya. Kamenev uses the gavel to call the assembly to order.


ZINOVIEV: Comrades, I welcome you all
                   To this session of our Twelfth
                   Party Congress: the first and
                   Only one in which our great
                   Founder, comrade Lenin, has
                   Not been here to guide us.
                   Each of us waits and watches
                   Anxiously, hoping for his rapid
                   Recovery. But just because or
                   His absence, we must ask at
                   Every juncture: What would
                   Comrade Lenin have said? We
                   Must act on his principles and 
                   Remain  faithful to his words.
                   After all, we are but his humble
                   Followers, loyal disciples of his
                   Thought.  And, in these perilous
                   Times, we must proceed with
                   Care and caution. For
                   Every criticism of Leninism—
                   However honestly made –
                   My, objectively, be a
                   Deviation from his thought.
                   Every criticism – however
                   Sincerely brought – may be
                   An unconscious deviation
                   From his thinking. Critics –
                   However genuine – may act as
                   Agents for our enemies; their
                   Words weapons to be used
                   Against us. Party discipline is
                  The order of the day. And
                  We, as your leaders, have
                  The sworn duty to suppress
                  Deviation, to ban all  who’d
                  Form factions that threaten
                  To split our party. Comrades,
                 We communists are people
                  Of a special mold, made of
                  Special stuff. We form the
                  Vanguard of the army of the
                  Great proletarian strategist,
                The army of comrade Lenin.
               There is no higher honor than
               To belong to such an army.
               But it is not given to everyone
              To be a member of our party.
              From his sickbed comrade
               Lenin enjoins us to hold his
              Banner high, to preserve the
              Purity of our party. We all
              Vow to you, comrade Lenin,
              That we shall fulfill your
              Behest with our complete
              Devotion. We know of only
              A single antidote against error:
             The teachings of our own
             Comrade Lenin. And, though
             He’s not here himself to guide
             Us, his precepts remain to lead
             Us, his precious writings are
             The touchstones we must
              Always consult. And if, at the
              Present treacherous time the
              Party warns against dangers,
              You must always trust it: for
              It is the single weapon forged
          By history for the working
          Class. What might not be
          Troubles in normal times, may
          Become doubly so today.
          Finally, we must learn from
         History – remembering our
         Great precursor, the French
         Revolution – and beware of
         Potential Bonapartes, those 
         Ambitious ones, who’d seek
         To rule over us, who’d cast
         Themselves as kings above us!


         (Thunderous applause from the floor.)


KAMENEV: (He use the gavel to call them to order.)
         Comrade Yoffe is scheduled
         To address us next.


YOFFE: (Yoffe rises from the stage and approaches the podium.)
          As comrade  Trotsky is ill,
          And unable to address the
         Congress , I am forced to
         Speak on his behalf…
         Comrade Zinoviev has
         Spoken of the absence of
         Vladimir Ilyich, and of  our
         Common concern for his
         Health. With this we, no
         Doubt, can all agree. But
         Then he goes on to paint
         A portrait of a man and his
         Writings of a likeness that
         Surely none can recognize!
         Lenin would never allow
        Himself to be regarded
        As a saint, have his words
        Treated as holy writ. Why,
        He’d be the last to create
        A cult around himself: a
        Marxist church, with Pope 
        And gospels. Lenin, above
        All, encouraged criticism,
       Was the very spirit of harsh
       Debate;


ZINOVIEV: I must object to this, comrade
        Yoffe! I merely wish to show
        Our enormous debt to
        Vladimir Ilyich. How much
        We owe to him and to his work
        To guide us in these times 
         Of dire peril to our party.


YOFFE: I disagree, comrade Zinoviev.
       You speak of “deviationism”
       And of party discipline as if
       You addressed a college of
       Cardinals on the danger of
       A schism in Holy Mother
       Church! You take Lenin’s
       Living words, embalm them
       And claim for them papal
       Infallibility. You would
      Make Lenin god the father,
      Stalin, his son, and
      Trotsky, the unholy ghost!


      (He’s drowned out by hissing and boos from the floor.)

Scene Four.


   Lenin’s dacha at Gorki, outdoors. He is seated in a wheelchair – immobile – after his third stroke. Krupskaya sits beside him, holding his hand. An old-fashioned Victrola and a pile of 78 rpm records are on a table  between them. The sound of crickets and occasional birdsong can be heard.


KRUPSKAYA:  For much of the party congress
                         Lev Davidovich was ill. Adolph
                         Abramovich represented the
                         Opposition in a worthy manner,
                         But, at each and every turn,
                         We were put on the defensive.
                         The triumvirs took advantage,
                         Sought to please both sides,
                     Pandered to every prejudice
                     And fear. And Lev Davidovich
                     Failed to denounce the bullying
                     Of our Georgian comrades.
                     His report on the economy 
                    Was brilliant, of course, but it
                    Was couched in terms so
                    General and elusive that few
                    Could grasp its meaning. It
                    Only frightened and confused
                    Most of the younger delegates.
                    Finally, he not only remained
                    Silent on democracy in the 
                    Party, but had a letter read
                    Declaring his solidarity with
                    The triumvirs. He let his allies
                    Down, weakened himself
                    And aided his opponents…
                    (She takes Lenin’s hands to her lips and kisses them.)
                    Oh I can see by your eyes, my
                    Volodya, that you understand.
                    My lion caged, in a wheelchair
                    Confined, your great mind
                    Trapped in a crippled frame.
                    (She places a recording of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata on the turntable.)
                 This was always your favorite,
                 Volodya, the “Appassionata”
                 Sonata. But you were always
                 So reluctant to expose yourself
                 To music. It made you feel soft,
                 You’d say, made you  want to
                 Go round patting folks on the
                Head. When what you had to
                Was to be a hammer to knock
                Some sense into their skulls, 
                Make them grasp the next
                Link in the chain to lead the
                Workers to self-emancipation.

Scene Five.


   On a platform stand the triumvirs. Before them lies Lenin’s open coffin upon a bier. A stream of workers pass before it to pay their last respects. On the street level on the rights side of the stage stand Trotsky and Yoffe.


TROTSKY: I first learned of his death through
                  A message from Stalin.  Though
                  Ill and away, I would’ve returned,
                  But was deliberately misinformed
                 As to the date of Lenin’s funeral.


YOFFE:    It was a theatrical production in
                The worst of taste: a cult of the
               Leader; his Sacred Words. His
               Body was embalmed – placed  
              Within a sarcophagus, standing
              In the Hall of Columns—to be
              Visited by workers like pilgrims
              To view the relics of a saint.


TROTSKY: Just imagine what Ilyich would
              Have said –


YOFFE: Treated like a waxwork in his
             Own mausoleum!...And Stalin’s
             Funeral oration revealed him to
             Be the ex-seminary student we
             Know him to be. It was a mixture
             Of Marxist terminology and the
             Orthodox prayer book!...
             (Imitating Stalin’s oratory.)
             Departing from us, comrade
             Lenin enjoined us to guard the
             Unity of our party as the apple
             Of his eye. We vow to you,
             Comrade Lenin, that we shall
             Fulfill this behest with honor.
             Departing from us,  omrade
             Lenin enjoined us to guard the
             Dictatorship of the proletariat.
             We vow to you, comrade Lenin,
          That we shall spare no effort
          To fulfill this, too, with honor.
          On and on he went in this
          Sacerdotal manner. And the
          Saddest thing is that
         No one saw through his airs.


TROTSKY: And what did Krupskaya say?


YOFFE: She spoke from the heart,
         Asking that our mourning for him
         Not take the form of reverence
         For his person: the raising of
         Memorials; the celebrating of
         Solemn commemorative
         Festivals. But, rather, that we
        Should build kindergartens,
        Libraries, hospitals in his
        Honor. That, most of all,
        That we always put his
        Precepts into practice…


TROTSKY: U remember the first time I met
        Him in London in the Iskra days.
        Considerable intrigue existed
        Among the editors, particularly
        Between Plekhanov and Ilyich,
        The old generation and the new.
        Vera Ivanova would say that:
        “Plekhanov is a greyhound. He
         Shakes up his adversary, but
         Finally lets him go. But Lenin
         Is a bulldog with a deadly
         Bite. He never lets his victim
         Go.” That phrase pleased him,
         “The deadly bite.” I remember
         The twinkle I his eyes, his
         Sly, Tartar grin…


YOFFE: I recall him horsing around with
         Your boys, Segei and Lyova.


TROTSKY: Yes, he was mad about kids.
         Regretted having none of his
         Own. They’d often play in the
         Kremlin corridor between our
         Two apartments. And he loved
         To laugh; it was one of his many
         Child-like traits. His entire body
         Shook as he fought to contain a
         Fit of laughter, face turned red,
         Tears brimming from his eyes.


YOFFE: Do you remember  the day we
         Learned of his first stroke?


TROTSKY: Yes, Bukharin had come to
          Visit. I was ill and in bed.


YOFFE: “You, too, are ill and in bed?”
          He’d said. “And who besides
          Me?” you’d asked. “Lenin
          Has had a stroke.” he’d replied.
         “He can’t walk or talk. His
         Doctors are utterly at a loss.”


TROTSKY: His condition grew worse; his
        Headaches, more frequent. 
        He’d always been so robust,
        We’d never imagined thathe
        Might grow ill. Could even
        Lenin be sick? Could he die?


YOFFE: But driven by his unyielding
        Will, his body made a great
        Recovery. His brain, that
        Failed for lack of blood,
        That lost the power of
        Speech, suddenly revived.


TROTSKY: During my first meeting with
         Him, afterwards, I remember
         The dreadful look in his eyes.
         “I couldn’t speak or write.”
         He’d said. “I had to learn
         Everything from scratch.”


YOFFE: He returned to work, but
       At a heavy cost. Toward the
       End the gave the impression
       Of one hopelessly tired. The
       Muscles of his face sagged,
       The gleam had left his eyes,
       He seemed a man doomed.


TROTSKY: His second stroke lasted
       For more than ten months.
       Improvement could be 
       Expected, even complete
       Recovery, but catastrophe
       Occurred: his great mind
       Destroyed. For him death
       Was a deliverance from
       Suffering, from frustration
       At being unable to act, when
      He could see the betrayal of
      The revolution all around him.

Scene Six.


     Central Committee Meeting. Triumvirs. Trotsky. Yoffe. Krupskaya is in the midst of reading Lenin’s will.


KRUPSKAYA: Our party relies on two classes.
                       Its instability is possible and its
                      Downfall inevitable if conflict
                      Arises between them. Nothing
                      Could prevent a split in such a
                      Case. To avoid this, I must
                       Address the personalities of
                      Our Central Committee. Chief
                      Among them, are comrades
                      Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev,
                      Kamenev and Stalin. Having
                      Become general secretary,
                      Comrade Stalin has great
                     Power in his hands; and I
                     Suspect he might well abuse
                    It. Comrade Trotsky, on the
                    Other hand, although the
                    Most able member of
                    The central committee, has
                    Been known to display an
                   Excessive self-confidence.
                   These qualities might well
                   Lead to a split in our party.
                   As for comrades Zinoviev
                   And Kameniev, I’m forced
                  To mention that their action
                  On the eve of October was
                  No accident; but it should
                No longer be held against
                Them.  As for Bukharin, he
                Is a theorist of considerable
                Gifts, but there is something
                Scholastic in his grasp of 
                Marxism…
               (Krupskaya pauses to look at Stalin, then resumes reading.)
               Comrade Lenin wrote the
               Following a week later…
               Stalin is too rude.  And
               This defect has become
               Intolerable given his power.
               As General Secretary. I
              Strongly insist on his removal
              From office. This is essential
              To prevent a split in our party…
              (Stalin is horrified. Zinoviev finally breaks the silence.)


ZINOVIEV: Certainly, comrade Stalin’s
              Offenses are no so grave
              That they justify his dismissal.
              Since Lenin’s writing, he has
              And continues to make amends.
              If Vladimir Ilyich had witnesses
             His remorse, his devotion to the
             Party, he’d surely have relented.


KAMENEV: Comrade Trotsky, can’t you see
                     This? And comrade Krupskaya?
                    (Trotsky remains silent.)


KRUPSKAYA: Can I believe my ears?
                    You’d dare not act upon
                    Vladimir Illyich’s last will
                    And testament, his final
                   Words  to the party that
                   He spent his entire life
                   Creating. If we fail to
                   Act upon his last wish
                  We would be forced to
                  Suppress  the will entirely!


KAMENEV: But it would sow confusion
                  In the party if we dismiss the
                 General secretary at such a
                 Critical juncture when we’re
                 Attempting to recover from
                Comrade Lenin’s death…


ZINOVIEV: I propose that we – at least for
                 The present time – leave the
                 Unpublished.


KAMENEV: I second the proposal.


BUKHARIN: All in favor?


                 (A large majority raises their hands.)  
 

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Scene Seven.


    Trotsky is ill in bed, reading a newspaper. His wife, Sedova, enters with a breakfast tray and sets it down on a table beside him. She pours a teaspoon of medicine from a bottle on the table and gives it to him. He folds the newspaper with an expression of disgust.


TROTSKY: Pravda continues its campaign
                  Against “Trotskyism”: an
                  Eruption of slander, of
                  Vituperation; filled with
                  Nothing but lies, repeated
                  Over and over again!
                 Day after day they serve
                 Up incidents from the 
                 Past, confusing and 
                 Falsifying them all. What
                 Have they made of our
                 Revolution, Natalya, of
                Our party, of our state?...


SEDOVA: Take your medicine, Lev
                 Davidovitch. Did you get
                 Any sleep?


TROTSKY: No, I was up most of the
                 Night with a headache,
                 Fever. The medicine
                 Brought little relief.


SEDOVA: Our dear Lyova stood
                  Guard, as usual. Now I
                  Can tell him to get some
                  Sleep. I’m so proud of
                  That boy-


TROTSKY: As am I, Natalya.


SEDOVA:  Of the role he’s played
                  In our opposition. Even
                  Sergei is starting to come
                  Around-


TROTSKY: No more circus girls and
                  Games for him, eh?
                  I’m expecting Adolphe
                  Abramovich shortly, to
                  Begin the organizing of
                  Our appeal to the workers.


SEDOVA: I received a letter from
                 Alexandra in Leningrad.
                 Of course she continues
                 The opposition work,
                 Together with Zina and
                  Nina and their families.
                  But all have been affected
                  By the vicious campaign
                 Against us. Their husbands
                 Have lost their jobs or been
                 Expelled from the party; and
           Your daughters are ill with
           Consumption, tormented
           By fear and by anxiety.


TROTSKY: Knowing the life I’ve chosen,
           I should’ve never married
           Or had children. I have the
           Right to take such risks on
           My own, but not to impose
           All this suffering on my family.


SEDOVA: Not at all, Lev Davidovitch,
           Don’t you know how  proud
           Your sons and daughters are
           To have such a father? Why,
           Zina and Nina are thrilled
           To be your daughters. Our
           Boys would have no other
           Father. If we share the joys,
          Then we must also share the
          Sorrows. You can’t have one
          Without settling for the other.


         (A knock is heard on the bedroom door. Yoffe enters and is seated beside Trotsky’s bed.)


SEDOVA: Welcome, Adolphe Abramovich.
          I will leave the two of you
          To talk of party affairs.


         (She exits.)


  TROTSKY: It’s good to have you, Adolphe
           Abramovitch…
           (He lifts the newspaper to show it to Yoffe.)
           Can you believe the lies and
           Filth they are publishing?...
           (He opens the newspaper to find a story.)
           Here’s a sensational piece that
           Accuses our opposition of a
           Military conspiracy to overthrow
           The state! They claim we have
           Joined with counter-revolutionary
           Elements – former czarist officers –
           And have sold state secrets to the 
           Imperialists, spreading “Trotskyist”
           Propaganda.


YOFFE: Yes, and the Central Committee
           Has begun a wave of explusions
           For what they call “indiscipline”
           And  ”factional activities”. This
           Is often followed by loss of work,
           Or our members are transferred
           To distant posts where they are 
           Out  of touch, unable to organize.


TROTSKY: We are passing through a period
           Of reaction. A political shifting of
       Classes is taking place, as well as
       A change in class consciousness.
      The deep molecular process is
      Rising to the surface and at its
      Head is Stalin’s bureaucracy,
      With its objective of eradicating all
      The lessons of October.


YOFFE: Yes, Lev Davidovitch. During the
       Rising tide of the revolution the
       Slanders against us only
       Strengthened us. But now, during
       Its ebb, slander is the weapon of
       The bureaucracy.


TROTSKY: Most of all, the workers are
        Exhausted. The undertow is
        So powerful that they founder
        In it. The current regime is
        Further from workers’
        Democracy than it was during
        The fiercest period of war
        Communism.


YOFFE: The bureaucratization of the
        Party has reached unheard-of
        Proportions through the method
        Of secretarial selection of
      Delegates to party congresses
      And conferences. But the
      Actual power to nominate them
      Is in the general secretary’s hands.
      They’re appointed, as a rule, and
      The voting takes place according
      To a regular scheme. His agents
      Enter a meeting, then the chairman
      Asks: “All in favor?”; “All against?”
      And because party members fear
      Reprisal if they don’t vote for his
      Candidate – especially because of
      The threat of the sack, with
      Unemployment so massive and the
      Power of the “red managers” so
      Great – that his nominee is
      Automatically elected.


TROTSKY: Such is the steamroller with which
      He packs our congresses. He’s
      Transformed the process into a
      Mockery of elections!
      But his theory of “socialism in one
      Country” expresses the mood
      Of the times. If the working
      Class were not so exhausted,
      If they were sufficiently mature
      To be inspired by international
      Perspectives, then they would
      Not succumb to such rubbish.


TROTSKY: Socialism in one country is the
      Current opiate of the masses.
      Before we were forced to bide
      Our time; now it’s time to act.

Scene Eight.


     Thirteenth  Party Congress. Zinoviev addresses the assembly. Kamenev chairs. Stalin. Yoffe. Trotsky. Krupsksya.


ZONOVIEV: The master of the
                     Opposition is it theory
                     Of Permanent Revolution.
                     You prevent the workers
                     With the prospect of
                     Endless upheaval, when
                     They seek nothing so
                     Much as peace, stability.
                     You claim our revolution
                     Depends on the spread
                     Of others abroad, that
                     We are too weak to
                     Build socialism on our
                     Own. But, time after time,
                We’ve seen others fail. In
                Germany, Hungary and
                China they have failed.
                We cannot wait on others,
                We must depend upon
                Ourselves. The Russian
                People must create it on
                Our own; we cannot afford
                To wait for others  to come
                To our aid. Furthermore, it
                Is not enough that you lay
                Down your arms, you must
                Publicly recant before the
                Party. You are liquidators
                Of revolutionary principle,
                Guilty of petty-bourgeois
                Deviation from Leninism.
                Further breach of party
                Discipline will surely be
                Grounds for your expulsion.


                (Applause from the delegates. Kamenev brings them to order with his gavel.)


KAMENEV: Comrade Yoffe will be the 
                Next to address us.


YOFFEE: (He rises and approached the podium.)
               Socialism can never be
         Achieved within the borders
         Of a single country, especially
         One devastated by war, civil
         Strife and famine. It requires
         An international division of
         Labor, the resources of many
         Advanced industrial nations.
        It cannot be built in backward
        Mother Russia alone. Whats
        More, to abandon hope in
        Revolution abroad, is to cease
        Working for it internationally.
        You are turning the Comintern
        Into an instrument of Soviet
       Foreign policy, not a weapon
       For proletarian revolution. In
      The interest of protecting our
      Country, you are steering our
      Comrades abroad toward
      Reform, sacrificing their future
      To our narrow national interests.


KAMENEV: Comrade Krupskaya.


KRUPSKAYA: Comrade Trotsky has devoted
       The whole of his powers to the
       Fight during the decisive years
     Of our revolution. He held out
     Heroically in each of the posts
      To which he was assigned. He
   Worked with unexampled
  Energy and accomplished
  Wonders in safeguarding the
  Victory of our revolution.
  To dare suggest that he and
  We of the opposition must
  Recant is disgraceful! Are
 We to be treated as heretics
 And summoned before the
 Holy Office, put to the question,
 Forced to confess?


KAMENEV: Comrade Trotsky.

 

TROTSKY: Comrade Zinoviev, nothing would

Be easier than to admit before the
 Party that we’ve erred. No great
Moral heroism is required. None
Of us – the the last instance – can 
Be right against the party because
It is the only historic instrument
That the working class posseses
To solve its fundamental tasks. If
We’ve erred we’d gladly admit it,
But we haven’t. We refuse to retract
A single criticism. In England
They have a saying: “My country,
Right or wrong.” With much
Greater justification we can say:
“My party, right or wrong.” But
To accept the party’s verdict
Means submission in action, not
In thought. We cannot say we’re
Wrong in this instance, because
We were not wrong!...


(Booing and hissing from the delegates.)

Scene Nine.


     Trotsky’s apartment. Yoffe. Zinoviev. Kamenev.


ZINOVIEV: No doubt our letters have
                   Informed you of our break
                   With the General Secretary.
                   We’ve been replaced by his
                    New hatchet man, Bukarin.


TROTSKY:   So you’ve come to bury the
                    Hatchet, have you, Gregory?


 KAMENEV: Lev Davidovitch, please,
                    We must make a clean
                    Break with the past, put aside
                   All of our differences. We must
                   Do it for the sake of the party!


YOFFE:       How can we trust the two of
                    You after the vile campaign
                    You’ve waged against us?


KAMENEV: We were blind. We admit we
                     Concocted false accusations
                     Against you, that we slandered
                     You unmercifully, that we’ve
                     Invented the “spectre of
                     Trotskyism” –


ZINIVIEV:    We simply didn’t understand
                     Him. He’s sly and cruel, cares
                     For nothing but power, is likea
                     Spider at the center of a web
                     Of intrigue that he’s constantly
                     Spinning all around him.


KAMENEV: It was like the bloody court
                    Conspiracies of the czars.


ZINOVIEV:  Yes, he’s constantly scheming,
                     Offering bribes, threatening
                     Reprisals, removing your
                     Followers from office and
                     Replacing them with his pawns.


KAMENEV: You must do it for the good
                   Of the party, Lev Davidovitch!
                   We will publically admit you
                   Were right about the lack
                   Of democracy in the party
                   If you, in turn, apologize for
                   Criticisms of our mistakes on
                   The eve of October…


ZINIVIEV:  And not refer to the tow of us
                  As “strike-breakers of the
                 Revolution.”


KAMENEV: We must join hands-


ZINOVIEV: And Krupskaya, no doubt, will
                  Ally herself with us. Our joint
                  Opposition would be more
                  Than a match for the General
                 Secretary and his cronies.


KAMENEV: And hopefully there will soon
                 Be a thaw, a revival among the
                 Workers. Their exhaustion
                 And indifference cannot go
                 On forever.


ZINOVIEV: We’ve both written letters
                 And deposited them in a
                 Safe place, describing all the 
                 Dirt on Stalin and his plots
                 And schemes for power.


KAMENEV: These can be revealed to
                 The party in case we should
                 Suddenly “disappear”. We
                 Strongly advise you, Lev
                 Davidovitch, to do the same.


ZINOVIEV: Stalin is nothing: a coarse,
                 Clumsy, oaf; a half-educated
                 Bully and manipulator. Surely,
                 If we join our forces we’ll
                 Defeat him…


TROTSKY: Nothing, you call him? No,
                 He’s outflanked us at every
                 Turn. We can hardly share
                 Your high hopes, having been
                 The object, these many years,
                 Of you campaign of slander
                 And persecution, having felt
                 The full weight of the party
                  Machine to crush and isolate
                  All that dare be its critics.


ZINOVIEV: But we must forgive and
                  Forget for the sake of our
                  Common devotion to our
                  Party and the revolution.


YOFFE:  It’s easy for you to say,
              Gregory, having been on
              The General Secretary’s side.


TROTSKY: For once he’s righ, Adolphe
               Abramovich, there is no other
               Way. But I can hardly share
               Your optimism. I fear we
               May already be too late.
                And your hopes for a
                Resurgence of the working
                Class are also wishful
                Thinking. The spirit of the 
                Times has changed. The 
                 Workers are no longer the
                 Same. The are tired,
                 Confused, afraid of change.
                 Never the less, it’s not the
                 Business of revolutionaries
                 To bow to the reactionary
                 Mood of the masses. At
                 Such times we must be
                 Prepared to be alone, to
                 Act as the opposition. We
                 Must continue the fight
                 Whether we are destined
                 To end as Lenin did, in
                 Triumph, or as Leibnecht
                 Did, in martyrdom…The 
                 Other day Krupskaya
                 Remarked to me that, if
                 Ilyich were alive today,
                 He’ be doing time in
                 One of Stalin’s prisons. 

Scene Ten. Part One.


    Factory. Rhythmic sounds of machinery in the background. Workers listen as Trotsky addresses them.


TROTSKY: Rumors emanating from the
                  General Secretary slander the
                 Opposition with the claim
                 We are engaged in a
                 Counter-revolutionary
                 Conspiracy. Who circulates
                 These rumors? All threads
                 Lead to Stalin. Only with
                 His approval could such a
                 Fraud be perpetrated. Of
                 Course he uses his minions
                 To spread these lies. But,
                 Behind this tide of obliquy
                 Lies the bankruptcy of his
                Policies. He attempts to
                Terrorize his opponents
                And pack the next party
                Congress against genuine
                Discussion. Nevertheless, we
                Intend to take our appeal to
                You, spread our appeal  to
                You, spread our platform
                By every means at our
                Command. Through they expel
                Us, remove us, send us into
                Exile, we will challenge the
                Apparatus and deny all its
                False accusations-


(A group of thugs enter the factory armed with whistles and clubs.)


THUG 1: Menshivik traitor and slanderor!


THUG 2: Tool of the bourgeoisie!


THUG 3: Trotsky, the enemy, the Jew!


(They begin to whistle, shout, shake their fists and drown out his powerful voice. The workers do nothing to stopthem.)


Scene Ten. Part Two.


     Opposition’s office. Workers are seated at desks typing and making leaflets on a mimeograph machine. Thugs break into the office and smash the typewriters and the mimeograph. They rough up and arrest the workers, then drag them off.


Scene Ten. Part Three.


     Clandestine meeting in the forest. Evening. Whistling sound of the wind in the background. Kamenev address a group of workers.


KAMENEV: The General Secretary stifles all
                     Discussion, substituting threats
                     And sanctions, post his critics
                     To frozen wastes and desers.
                     They may accuse us, comrades,
                     Of whatever they like, but we
                     Are not yet living in the Middle
                     Ages. Witch trials cannot be
                     Staged. They will not burn us
                     At the stake-


(Thugs enter and disrupt the meeting.)


Scene Ten. Part Four.


     Demonstration. Oppositionists with banners, signs and portraits of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky march down the street lined with workers. They chant, hand out leaflets, attempt to engage the onlookers in conversation.


WORKER1: What do we want?


WORKER 2: To honor Lenin’s thought!


WORKER 1: When do we want it?


WORKERS: Now!


(Repeated several times.)


WORKER 1: What do we want?


WORKERS:  Inner-party democracy!


WORKER 1: When do we want it?


WORKERS:  Now!


(Repeated several times.)


WORKER 1: What do we want?


WORKERS: Down with the bureaucracy!


WORKER 1: When do we want it?


WORKERS:   Now!


(Enter a group of police, with clubs and shields, who attack the demonstrators, beat them, tear their banners and rip up their portraits and signs. Some of the demonstrators are chased off the stage.)


Scene Ten. Part Five.


     Stalin’s office. Stalin and Bukharin.


BUKHARIN: Comrade Krupskaya was beaten
                     Up in yesterday’s demonstration.
                     Surely, that’s going too far?  

                
STALIN:       If she wishes to engage in acts
                    That are illegal, that contravene
                     Party discipline, then she must
                     Take her chances with the rest.


BUKHARIN: But Lenin’s widow, a fifty-year-
                      Old woman?


STALIN:         If need be, I’ll appoint someone
                       Else to be Lenin’s widow…It was
                       Zinoviev, himself, who first
                       Suggested we expel Trotsky. At
                       That time I disagreed, believed
                       The method of amputation was
                       Fraught with the danger of
                       Infection. Today, however, it’s
                       Time to slice off the gangrenous
                       Limb. Now they’ve given us all
                       The evidence we need to expel
                       Them.                 

Scene Eleven.


         Courtroom. Central Control Commission. Bukharin, as chief prosecutor, is seated on the right with Stalin. Trotsky is seated on the left with Yoffe, Zinoviev and Kamenev. In the middle upon a raised bench.


Of the tribunal of twelve party members is Ordjonikidze, who acts as chairman.


ORDJONIKIDZE: The accused have been charged
                       With two counts: engaging in a 
                       Public demonstration against the
                       Party; and appealing to the working
                       Class in breach of party discipline.
                       In this, the final session of the
                       Praesidium of the Central Control    
                       Commission, the Prosecutor will
                       Conclude his examination…


(Bukharin rises and stands before them.)


BUKHARIN:  In a case of conspiracy, like the
                      One now before us, the prosecution
                      Bears the burden of proving the
                      Existence of a conspiratorial
                      Agreement, overt acts, and the
                      Specific intent of each party.
                      The overt acts alleged in the
                       Indictment consist of the
                       Following incidents. On the
                       Tenth anniversary of the
                       Revolution the accused staged
                       Its “appeal to the masses”.
                       Taking part in the official
                       Celebrations of November 7th,
                       You declared your demands
                       To the millions who took to
                       The streets. In close ranks
                       You marched with your
                       Own banners, chanting your
                       Slogans, slandering the party
                       And its policies. Your protest was
                       A transparent breach of party
                       Discipline. But we were not
                       Unprepared. We met you in the
                       Streets and defeated you before the
                       Masses. The police tore up your
                       Banners, ripped your plackards
                       From your hands. Your ranks
                       Were dispersed and beaten.
                       And although you attempted to
                       Regroup and engage in further
                       Demonstrations, the police
                       Moved you off the streets
                       Into isolation…
                     I now call my first witness,
                     Comrade Lashevich…


(Lashevich, an officer in uniform with numerous decorations, rises and is  seated in the witness box.)


                     Comrade Lashevich, you
                     Particiated in the Tenth
                     Anniversary demonstrations,
                     Did you not?


LASHEVICH: Yes, I did so proudly as a
                     Member of the United Opposition.


BUKHARIN: So you admit this?


LASHEVICH: Indeed, I do.


BUKHARIN: And is it also the case that you
                     Led a “human wave: against
                     Mounted police who were
                     Lawfully engaged in halting
                     Your demonstration?


LASHEVICH: I most certainly did. Although
                     I object that we did anything
                     Unlawful.


BUKHARIN: That is not for you to determine,
                     Comrade Lashevich. And it it
                     Also the case that you went
                     So far as to attack a mounted
                     Policeman and drag him off
                     His horse?


LASHEVICH: I dragged him off his horse
                   And then helped him up to
                   His feet, saying: “You should
                   Be ashamed of attacking your
                   Fellow workers!”


BUKHARIN: Comrade Lashevich, you – who
                   Once, a general, commanded
                   Our armies in the field – now
                   Dare attack our own police?
                   It is you who should be
                   Ashamed! You are dismissed.


(Lashevich marches proudly out of the box and exists.)


BUKHARIN: As my next witness, I call
                     Comrade Mednev…


(Mednev enters and is seated in the witness box.)


BUKHARIN: Comrade Mednev, you were
                      Present on June 21st, at the
                      Yaroslav Railroad Station,
                      Where a farewell  demonstration
                      Was held for comrade Smilga,
                      Were you not?


MEDNEV:     Yes, I was present that day.


BUKHARIN:  Would you describe for us
                       What you witnessed on that
                       Occasion?


MEDNEV:  What appeared to be members
                    Of the United Opposition
                    Had gathered to demonstrate
                    Their protest against Smilga’s
                    Having been posted to
                    Desolate Knabrovsk.


BUKHARIN: And who spoke on that
                     Occasion?


MEDNEV:    Comrade Trotsky, among others.
BUKHARIN: And what was the substance of
                     His speech, comrade Mednev?


MEDNEV:   He spoke if the need for party
                    Democracy, and of the urgent
                    Need for a transition to a
                    Planned economy.


BUKHARIN: Then he spoke critically of our
                    Party and its current policies,
                    Did he not, comrade Mednev?


MEDNEV:   He most certainly did.


BUKHARIN: Thank you, comrade Mednev,
                     You are dismissed…


(Mednev leaves the box and exits.)


                     I shall next call comrade Stalin…


(Stalin rises and enters the witness box.)


                     Comrade Stalin, to what do
                    You attribute the crimes of the
                    United Opposition?


STALIN:      They all stem from Trotsky’s
                    Theory of “Permanent Revolution”.


BUKHARIN: Could you elaborate on that theme,
                     Comrade Stalin.


STALIN:       Surely. After October our party
                     Lived through four great crises:
                     Brest Litovsk; the trade union
                     Controversy; NEP; and the
                     Present attack on the party.
                     And in all these crises comrade
                     Trotsky was proven wrong.


BUKHARIN: Could you explain this to us,
                     Stalin?


STALIN:       At Brest Litovsk he was carried
                     Away by revolutionary phrases,
                     Utopian schemes. He failed to
                     Accept the reality that Lenin’s
                     Genius saw. Most of all, he
                     Failed to recognize that the
                     Peasantry did not want and was
                    Unable to continue to wage war.


BUKHARIN: And what was his crime in 
                     The “Trade Union Controversy”?


STALIN:     He threatened to militarize the
                   Trade unions, to tighten the
                   Screws of “War Communism”
                   In the face of fierce peasant
                  Resistance.


BUKHARIN: And what was his position in
                  Regard to the New Economic
                  Policy?


STALIN:    His enthusiasm for planning at
                  Any cost would have
                 Established an absolute
                 Dictatorship of industry over
                 Agriculture.


BUKHARIN: And, finally, how do you explain
                 Comrade Trotsky’s current
                 Disregard for party discipline?


STALIN:    I believe his current denunciation
                  Of the party is due to his “Theory
                  Of Permanent Revolution”. It
                  Would make us dependent on
                  Foreign nations, unable to go it
                 Alone. Trotskyism is nothing but
                 A variety of Menshivism, a deviation
                 From Leninism. The party must
                 Chose, once and for all, between
               Leninism and Trotskyism!...


BUKHARIN: Thank you, comrade Stalin,
               You are dismissed…


(Stalin rise and returns to his seat.)


               My final witness will be
               Comrade Trotsky.


(Trotsky rises and is seated in the witness box.)


               Comrade Trotsky, is not the
               Case that you, together with
               Comrades Kamenev and Zinoviev,
               On November 7th toured the
               City in an automobile?


TROTSKY: Yes, this is true.


BUKHARIN: And did you not, on several
              Occasions stop to harangue
              Workers with speeches that
               Attacked the party and its
               Policies?


TROTSKY: My criticisms were legitimate
               One directed against policies
               Harmful to the party.


BUKARIN: It is the purpose of this tribunal
               To determine their legitimacy.
               The second count of the
               Indictment charges you with
              Helping organize a demonstration
              And delivering a speech at the
              Yaroslov Railway Station. Were
              You present on that occasion,
              Comrade Trotsky?


TROTSKY: Yes, I was present…


BUKHARIN: And did you not criticize the
              Party’s decision to re-assign
              Comrade Smilga to Knabrovsk?
              There is certainly party work
              To be done at Knabrovsky,
              Is there not?


TROTSKY: Comrade Bukharin, surely you
              Contradict yourself? If your
              Assignment of comrade Smilga
              To Knabrovsk was a routine
              Re-assignment, then what were we
              Protesting against, may I ask?
              On the other hand, if it was
              Really the exile of a member 
             Of the opposition, then you 
             Are duping the party, are
             Guilty of sheer duplicity, of the
             Banishing of a valuable member
             Of the party needed at responsible
             Posts. You cannot both claim
             That comrade Smilga was sent
             As a normal assignment and,
             That we were demonstrating
             Against the party. Such is
             Political double dealing…


BUKHARIN: That is for this tribunal
             To determine, not you,
             Comrade Trotsky! You
             Are dismissed!...


(Trotsky exits the witness box and returns to his seat.)


ORDJONIKIDZE: Would the prosecutor now 
             Present his closing statement…


(Bukharin rises to address the tribunal.)


BUKHARIN: In summation, rather than act
             As a loyal opposition, in 
             Clear contravention of the ‘21
             Ban on Factions – the accused
             Have appealed directly to the
             Workers, seeking to undermine
             The discipline of our party. It
             Met secretly, formed factions,
             Distributed its platform in clear
             Violation of the law. And at the
             Head of this conspiracy was
            Trotsky, with grand gestures
            And romantic words. In his
            Imagination the workers are
            All heroes, not flesh and
            Blood women and men. He
            Made the same mistake at
            Brest Litovsk, and you know
            How dearly we paid for it
            In Russian lives and land.
            His notion of “Primitive
            Socialist Acccumulation”
            Would condemn millions
            To exploitation and misery.
            This “super-industrializer”
            And enemy of the peasant
            Would cause needless
            Suffering to all the masses.
            The opposition must come
            To us with heads bowed
            And upon their knees. They
            Must confess and recant
            Before the party. Nothing
            Less than their expulsion
            Will do. Trotskyism is
            Intellectual dynamite placed
            Beneath the foundations of
            Our party, ready to blow us
            To smithereens. We must
            Liquidate it, annihilate it.
            In your own words,
            Comrade Trotsky, we will
            Sweep you into the dustbin
           Of history!...


(Bukharin returns to the prosecutor’s bench.) 


ORDJONIKIDZE: The defense will now present
            Its closing statement…


(Trotsky rises to address the Revolutionary Tribunal.)


TROTSKY: During the strenuous years
            Of the civil war the workers
            Endured cold, hunger and
            Epidemics, worked week-
            End shifts of hard labor,
            Fought at the front on rest
            Days, volunteered to load
            Logs at railway station –
            Only because it served the
            Cause of international 
            Revolution. It was essential
            That the soviet fortress
            Held out. Every log went
            Into buttressing that fortress.
            Your persecution of the
            Opposition, your denial of
            Inner-party democracy, will
            Result in fratricidal strife that
            Threatens to undermine all
            The conquests of October.
            It spells the ultimate
            Destruction of our party
            And a mortal danger to
           Our world revolution…

(Trotsky pauses.)
           During the French Revolution
           Many were guillotined. We,
           Too, brought many before the
           Firing squad. But there were
           Two separate chapters in our great
           French precursor: one went like this;

(He points upward.)             
           And the other went like this.
(He points downward.)
          In the first chapter, when
          The revolution moved upwards,
          The Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of
          Their time, guillotined royalists.
         We, like them, shot White Guards.
         But the a second chapter opened
         When the Jacobin right – the
         Thermidorians – began to execute
         The left Jacobins. In which chapter,
         Comrade Bukharin, are you
         Preparing to have us shot?...
         I fear that you have entered the
         Chapter of the Soviet Thermidor.
         And like that regime, your clique
         Stifles all who dare criticize it.
         A reign of terror was instituted,
         Silence was compulsory, it was
         Obbligatory to think in accord
         With orders from above. And
         The party, that was once a
         Living organism, became a
         Self-sufficent engine of power.
        We should learn from the French
        Revolution, but it is necessary to
        Repeat its tragic mistakes?...We
        Shall continue to criticize until
        You’ve physically sealed our lips.
        Though you expel  us, you will
        Not prevent our future victory.
        After our turn will come your’s,
        Comrade Bukharin. You have
        Substituted party for class, faction
        For party, and will finally replace
        Your faction with a single man…
(Facing Stalin, and pointing his finger at him, he thunders.)
         The General Secretary now poses his
         Candidacy for the post of the
         Grave-digger of the revolution!...
(Stalin rises, gasps, and storms out of the courtroom, slamming the door loudly behind him.) 

 

Scene Twelve


   A cemetery. Yoffe’s funeral. Trotsky stands at the head of the grave and addresses the mourners.


TROTSKY: On this past Sunday evening
           Adolphe Abramovitch Yoffe
           Committed suicide. In his
           Farewell letter he wrote:
(Trotsky removes a letter from his pocket, unfolds it, places his pince-nez on and reads to them.)
           “All my life I have been
           Convinced that the
           Revolutionary should know
           When to make his exit, and
           That he should make it when
           He can no longer be of
           Service to the cause to
           Which he is devoted.
           It has now been more than
           Thirty years since I embraced
           The view that our lives
           Make sense only insofar
           As we serve mankind.
           Anything we do in its service
           Will somehow survive. And
           Through this our lives
           Acquire significance.”
(Trotsky folds the letter, returns it to his pocket,  removes his pince-nez and continues.)
           As long as man is not
           Yet master of society,
           It will tower above him
           Like Fate itself. And 
           Such mastery will not
           Grow blindly like coral
           Reefs beneath the sea.
           It must be consciously
           Created. Man will learn
          To shift rivers, mountains
          To build palaces on the
          Heights of Mont Blanc and
          At the bottom of the sea.
          We are rich in resources
          Which only wait to be
          Transformed into power.
          In the South the Dneiper
         Runs, coursing through
         Lands, wasting its force
         And pressure. It only
         Awaits our intervention:
         To harness its streams;
         Curb it with mighty dams;
         To light our cities; power
         Our factories; fructify our
         Rich ploughed lands.

         It was for the purpose of
         Building such a society
         That Adolphe Abramovitch
         Lived each day of his life.
         In the letter he left us, he
         Insisted that sucide was
         The only way left for him to
         Protest our expulsion, to
         Express the horror he felt
         At our party’s destruction.
         We had been friends ever
         Since 1910 in Vienna. We
        Joined the Bolshevik Party
        And were members of the 
        Central Committee together.
        At the time of  the October
        Revolution, he led our
        Delegation to Brest Litovsk,
        Was our first Ambassador to
        Berlin. But, at the beginning
        Of the year, he contracted
        Tuberculosis; and when his
        Physicians held out no hope
        Unless he took a cure abroad,
        The Politbureau refused to 
        Allow it. Bedridden, pain-stricken
        And depressed by the savage
        Onslaught on our Opposition, 
        He finally blew his brains out.
        But let none presume to judge him.
        He left us only when he had
        Nothing else to give but his life.
        He left us not because he did not
       Wish to fight, but only because he
       Lacked the strength to fight, and
       Feared becoming a burden on
       The rest of us. Difficulties never
      Fazed him. He remained at the 
      Same even keel as a member of
      The Military Revolutionary Committee
      In Petrograd in October of 1917;
      As on the battleground outside the 
     City during the Civil War when
     Yudenich’s cannons burst all around
     Us; an as he did at the diplomatic
     Table at the conference of Brest Litovsk
     His life – not his suicide – serves as our example…

     The struggle goes on…
     Everyone remains at his post…
     Let no one leave.


(Black out.)


THE END
In memory of Isaac Deutscher, author of The Prophet,
without which this play would never have been written.

 

© 2015 By Mark Dickman